Former DFB captain: MSV icon Bernard Dietz turns 75 – namesake with a zebra heart

Status: 03/21/2023 8:25 p.m

At MSV Duisburg, Bernard Dietz is still revered as a club icon, and the club’s mascot is named after him. The former DFB captain and European champion turns 75 on Wednesday.

It’s almost fitting that the MSV Duisburg invited to its general meeting on Wednesday (22.03.23) of all days. Suitable for the 75th birthday of what is perhaps the club’s greatest legend: Bernard “Ennatz” Dietz. He played 495 games for Duisburg between 1970 and 1982 and made 53 appearances for the DFB. As captain, he led Germany to the European title in 1980.

Dietz: “MSV was like family”

Unforgotten is what he said in a phone call to his fiancé when he was appointed DFB captain in 1978: “Pack your mother, I’m the captain.” His mother Helene witnessed her son’s international match for the first time when she was over 80. Dietz earned his status at MSV primarily through his loyalty to the club.

Often enough, Dietz had better paid contract offers, especially during the successful period in the mid-1970s. And every time he was begged by the fans “not to let them down”. “You can’t do that to them,” he told the German press agency. “It was like a drug. My father was a worker, I was well received, it was like family.”

MSV season ticket for life

And so Dietz stayed – for twelve years he shaped an era at MSV Duisburg. His nickname “Ennatz” is still anchored in the club today, as the zebra, the Meidericher mascot, was named after Dietz. He would probably have stayed longer if financial constraints after Duisburg’s relegation in 1982 had not made a sale unavoidable.

He moved to Schalke, but he was still a Duisburger at heart. Dietz and his wife are still honorary members and have a lifetime ticket. He still meets regularly with old club colleagues from the MSV years: “We always talk the same nonsense. But it’s always nice.”

Popularity through modesty and club loyalty

Dietz is not only loyal to the club, but also modest: When he was supposed to be footballer of the year – in 1977 – he only replied to the message from the MSV president succinctly: “Are you kidding me ?!” It didn’t come to anything with the personal award, Berti Vogts won it after he shot Mönchengladbach to the UEFA Cup victory. Nevertheless, Dietz is the most accurate defender in Bundesliga history with 77 goals to date.

1978: Bernard Dietz in the uniform of MSV Duisburg

It is this mix of loyalty and modesty that distinguishes Dietz. His house in Drensteinfurt is neither luxuriously furnished nor particularly large. “We didn’t earn big money. We lived like any other family. I built and arranged everything in such a way that it could work without a career,” he told the Rheinische Post.

General meeting on the birthday

He doesn’t really want to celebrate his 75th birthday that big. At the weekend there will be an internal celebration with family and friends. But of all things, the general meeting at the MSV could thwart his plans on his day of honor.

“We celebrated the 60th and 70th with many hundreds of people. When we go to the general meeting, it starts again with singing and congratulations. That doesn’t always have to be the case. But my wife wants to persuade me because there is an election,” he said. You can see it shining through again – the MSV heart at “Ennatz” Dietz.